2019: A look back

In 2019, I lived in 3 countries, became self employed, ran my first half marathon and started my final year of studies as an undergraduate. There were many highs, a lot of love and adventures and -inevitably- some pretty major meltdowns! Here are most major moments from 2019…

January

At the grand old age of 20 I decided to take the leap and start working for myself, this has been the most hillarously unprepared step I’ve ever taken but I’m loving it! Tax, invoices, Slack, conferance calls…who!? (Don’t forget to submit your Tax returns soon kids.In January 2019 I visited Berlin again and made a proper go of it with my now boyfriend. Happy days- Long may cheap flights continue. I signed for my new Sheffield house for 4th year of uni which began in September 2019 and was really excited for the cute little nest I knew that my 3 friends and I would create. January was a real month of change post leaving Berlin and pre leaving for the Netherlands but was a really positive start to the year.

February

On the first of Feb I moved to Utrecht, the Netherlands. When I say I moved to the Netherlands, I moved to a huge, forboding, concrete monstrosity- a challenging start! So here I was ready to start part 2 of ‘Aimée tries to navigate a Year Abroad’. Moving to Utrecht, gave me it’s most incredible blessing on my first day- I met Meg, one of my housemates and a lovely human who I still love very much! After a few weeks of settling, 3 Australian friends and I went to Berlin together. It was such a fun trip and I loved exploring my city with my new found Utrecht family. They also took lots of pictures of me at lots of tourist spots that I’d never thought to get whilst living in Berlin!

March

For International Women’s Day, Meg and I jumped on the train to Amsterdam. (Living 24 mins away from Amsterdam was HUGE) Here we took part in the women’s march and it was such an incredible experience. Deffo one of the days I remember most of my time in Utrecht. Speaking of Amsterdam, I was back a couple of weeks later when my boyfriend flew to visit me. We spent the night on a boat in North Amsterdam and I really treasure the memory of that weekend. The next (very rainy!) day we explored Amsterdam and went to my fave museum of all time: The Stedelijk. I was lucky enough to have my family visit from the last day in March and we had a really wonderful few days together. Those memories I’ll hold close for a long time! (You don’t realise how amazing your family are until you move abroad!)

April

April was a long slog of a month! In the interest of transparency I really struggled in April last year. I still definitely hadn’t settled in Utrecht and now, all of the things I was looking forward to had passed. April (I think!) was when my first set of exams were and things just felt all a bit too much! So, some friends and I, did what anyone lacking sanity but holding onto hope would do…We booked a very cheap, too good to be true trip to eastern Europe. (Spoiler, it was too good to be true!) I’m still yet to delve into ‘Poland-gate’ on the blog, but I’ll definitely share the dire but hilarous story sometime. Anyway, Krakow and Warsaw themselves were stunning and really opened up my eyes. We also visited Auschwitz: I still don’t feel like I have the appropriate words to describe such an experience but I’m so glad we managed to visit during our trip. From Poland and back to the Netherlands I then had a week off for Easter so did a nice little Utrecht–> Berlin–> Bonn–> Brussels–> Utrecht tour. Heading to Bonn to see one of my best friends from my home Uni was especially lovely and really kept my spirits up! Lastly, let’s not forget King’s Day, a day of celebrating the monarch, all things Dutch and a wonderful cultural event…Or for me the day that I got drunk at 11am on a canal boat in Amsterdam. Moving on…

May

Paris baby! The BEST city trip I did in 2019. My right hand girl and I headed to Paris for a long weekend and had the most incredible time: We saw Chicago, battled with umberellas at Montmartre and ate many, many pretty pastries. Another of my friends from home, Ellie, came to visit me in Utrecht, we enjoyed a wine festival we accidentally came across and then I slightly less enjoyed a 15km race the same weekend. I was actually really proud of myself for running my first race and was a major tick in the box for 2019. We then also did a day trip to Rotterdam and saw some funky cube-houses. In May I also went camping with my boyfriends family and attended a wedding together in Maastricht: Another real highlight of my year. Finally the month was rounded off with 2 Australians and a Brit taking a spontaneous trip to a piercing shop: 5 piercings between us later, we were all new women.

June

Utrecht Pride was, without a doubt, another great weekend. Ellie visited me again -as, if I’m honest, I was still having a really hard time in Utrecht- and a friendly face was just what I needed. The sun shone, we sat at the side of a canal all day and sang, laughed and chatted. Absolute bliss! Claudia, who I’d visited in Bonn, also came to pay me a visit and we had a lovely weekend of windmill finding, sunshine and Prosecco opening without a bottle opener. (Extremely more challenging than might initially sound: FYI, spoons work.) During another revision period some friends and I ticked off some Dutch bucketlist activities such as going to Den Haag for a beach day and to Kasteel de Haar- very pretty but a LONG bike ride from Utrecht! At the end of June I left Utrecht and moved back to the U.K. Straight off plane, I was taken straight to a welcome back/ early birthday family meal and it was everything I’d been craving. I almost forgot… Then after 4 days I moved to Berlin for 3 months! (Clearly I don’t know how to stand still.) AND…last but deffo not least I turned 21! My boyfriend took me sailing for the day and I felt blessed to be back.

July

At the start of the month I started my new job at Ride Berlin, and met the best people! July, for me, consisted of lots of happy days, some rest and recouperation, chill time and outdoor swimming!

August

Roadtrip! In August I went on my summer holiday to Austria with my boyfriend. It was an equally nervous time for us both; it was my first time hitchhiking…and his first time meeting my family. Later that month my mum and sister came to Berlin to say hi and we had a ball. I finally went to Sammlung Boros, a modern art museum in Berlin and also did the Lange Nacht der Museen again.

September

I went to Bonn again in September, but this time with my boyfriend to meet his family. Another really fun trip to remember for a long time! Mid-September I flew back to the U.K. and moved into my new house in Sheffield with 3 friends. I ‘made home’, caught up with friends, got back into a routine and relished tasks like going to the post office or docors being in my own langauge!

October

I started Uni again! And this time it was the beginning of my fourth -and final- year! Pizza parties were held, Oktoberfest was celebrated and even a half marathon was run! October was a really exciting month as my boyfriend visited the U.K. for the first time and we even went to York together for the day. October was a really cosy month where things fell back into place and I felt really at home!

November

November was a month full of doing really fun activities at uni. My friends and I watched plays, went to the Botanical Garden light festival and celebrated Bonfire Night to name but just a few things. November also brought about my feature with Cowomen magazine blog: A huge milestone and something that I’d been working on for a long time. This monthI also took myself off for a day trip to London and visited all my fave spots including the Tate Modern. Later on in the month I spent a week in Berlin and then had my sister to visit in Sheffield.

December:

Phew, we’re nearly there! December was filled with work, work and more uni work however it wasn’t all spent with my head in a book (or many books). The Christmas holidays came around and I flew back to Europe to spend time with my family skiing in the Austrian Alps. My boyfriend joined us on Christmas day and then we drove to Bavaria together -via a stunning spa (of course!). The last week of the year we spent on a farm and simply chillled! Then we welcomed in 2020 together on a hill watching over hundreds of fireworks, not what we’d expected but just as special in its own way.

That was 2019! It’s been a long post so congrats if you made it to the end. To finish off I’d just like to say a huge thank you to my family, friends and partner who have all supported me this year. Without you all I would be even more crazy now. Finally a thank you to all of the people in my work life, for the trust, freedom and belief which have all contributed to my growth during the past year.

-Aimée

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